Last month at CinemaCon, it was announced that a sequel to the 1987 classic Dirty Dancing was in development with the original film’s star, Jennifer Grey, set to reprise her role. Now, we know that Jonathan Levine will be helming the film, and he’s given some insight as to what fans can expect from the film.
Levine, director of films like Warm Bodies and 50/50, gave some details as to the plot of the film, which is set for a 2024 release. Much like the original, this 90s set sequel will be a “coming-of-age romance”, but will also see Grey’s Baby returning to Kellerman Lodge as her story and another young woman’s at the camp begins to “intertwine” to “create a multi-layered narrative”. The sequel will include a mix of the fan-favorite songs from the original. Levine specifically mentioned “Hungry Eyes”, and songs from the ‘90s, along with artists like Alanis Morisette.
Levine also talked about how important it was to make sure Grey and the estate of the late Patrick Swayze were on board with the film:
“The most important thing for us was having Jennifer on board. She is an invaluable collaborator. We’re going to try to involve as many people from the original as is appropriate. We want to be respectful in every way.”
In regard to Swayze‘s passing and its effect on the sequel’s story, Levine says:
“Johnny is a part of Baby’s journey in the story… This film exists in a dialogue with the original. We want to introduce this story to a whole new generation. That said, Johnny’s absence looms large over the story, so it’s a coming-of-age story but also a coming-of-age for Baby’s character in a way.”
Assuring fans that the sequel will not be ignoring Swayze‘s fan-favorite character from the original, but incorporating his absence in a way to deepen Baby’s story in the film, Levine also gave a quote, talking directly to fans who might be worried about the sequel and how it might affect the original. Assuring them of his dedication to honoring the original, saying:
“While the original Dirty Dancing has always been one of my favorite films, I never imagined I would direct the sequel. Through co-writing it, I fell in love with the characters (new and old), the world of 1990s Catskills New York, and the music, which will range from songs from the original movie to ‘90s hip-hop. I can’t wait to collaborate with Jennifer to bring this beautiful story of summer and romance and dancing to a generation of new fans. And to the longtime ones, I promise we will not ruin your childhood. We will tackle the assignment with sophistication, ambition, and, above all, love.”
The sequel to Dirty Dancing will be written by Levine with Elizabeth Chomko. Levine will also be producing the film through his production banner Megamix, with Gillian Bohrer. Grey will also be serving as an executive producer. Casting for the sequel is currently underway, with conversations about to begin to have more actors join Grey in reprising their roles from the original. The movie is expected to begin production later this year with a planned release in 2024.